Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Chiricahua National Monument and the Coronado National Forest Rd. 42

usbackroads destination-Chiricahua National Monument and the Coronado National Forest Rd. 42

A friend that worked for the National Park Service recommend this spot as well worth visiting. A few years ago we tried to stop on the way back from Portal, Arizona. We hit the Chirichua about dark and decided that driving a scenic road was probably not worth doing in the dark.

This time we left Benson mid-morning to make sure that we would make the scenic drive in daylight. Unfortunately, the Park Service decided to close the scenic drive for road reconstruction. So we ended up visiting the visitor center and then had a picnic lunch down at the "ranch".

This being winter the birds were looking to join us for the picnic. Jays are pretty much obnoxious and loud birds. But on a warm, winter day in Arizona they were quieter than all those Blue Jay fans from Toronto.

There is a small campground inside the monument. Emphasis on small. The National Park Service says that up to 29 foot trailers can fit in the campground. I saw truck campers that had to be shoe horned into the camp site!! I think the limit is probably down around 22 feet. Investigate before driving in with a larger rig. Notice in the picture that length is the least of your problems. There might be an issue with height. Those folks with larger rigs might consider driving up Forest Rd. 42 and camping boondocking there.

The campground is also in a flash flood area.  The Park Service has "armored" and channeled the area to lead water away from the campsites. It would be interesting during a flood!!

It looks like I will have to make another trip to reach a "definitive" conclusion if the Chiricahua National Monument is worth visiting But do not wait for another posting.

If your in the area give the National Park Service a call and see if the scenic road is open!! Here is their contact information: Chiricahua National Monument.

See the tail end of my positing on Cave Creek, Portal, Arizona. The last part covers Forest Rd. 42 which heads over the Chiricahua Mountains to Portal, Arizona.The road is very washboardeee!!  Is that a word? Anyway, putting your rig into 4-wd does make's it much easier to drive on wash board roads. In winter, be sure the road is open.

There are some dispersed campsites along the lower stretches fs the Park Service camp spurs are too small or if you prefer the freedom of the National Forests.

Since our drive in 2011 the entire area burned over in a fairly hot forest fire. So the views should be much better along the route in 2016. As you can see in the pictute the mountains have had much of their vegetation removed in the fire. Go now, before the trees grow and once again block the scenic views.

Here is the Coronado National Forest site on the Chiricahua Mountains. As you can see there is plenty of places to camp, hike and even take a scenic drive. Here is the link to the Cave Creek portion of the road. The Forest Service also has a link to the other end of Forest Rd. 42.

If your wandering around Arizona visiting the National Parks be sure to stop and explore the adjacent National Forest. You just might appreciate the freedom of Forest Service managed lands to the hand holding and regulations on the National Park Service managed lands.

They both belong to YOU! Explore the backroads.

Some people are so taken by the National Forests that decide to spend eternity there!! It is worth searching these names on the internet. Just be sure to include Arizona as well as the names in the search window.What an adventure their lives must have been!!

Don't wait until you are "rooted" in one spot.